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Daily Dish: Education’s Brief Appearances in the #GOP Debates

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October 29, 2015 02:06 pm

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Last night, the topic of education made a few brief appearances in the main ten-candidate GOP debate on CNBC and during the undercard debate. The conversation primarily focused around issues including vocational education, student loan debt, and making college more affordable. Here are some highlights to get you up to speed.

Both Ohio Governor John Kasich and Carly Fiorina touched on student loan debt. As Education Week reports, Kasich called on allowing “legitimate public service” to help students pay off their higher education debt, but didn’t specify what type of public service. He also discussed his role in making college more affordable in Ohio. Kasich mentioned that universities are spending too many resources on non-academic projects, and backed postsecondary online education as a means to pare down student loan debt. Carly Fiorina blamed Washington for student loan debt, writes Education Week, since it favors brick-and-mortar institutions over online colleges.

Vocational education had a moment in the spotlight, highlighted by Senator Marco Rubio in the main event and former New York Governor George Pataki and Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in the earlier debate.

Forbes quotes Rubio as saying: “We need to get back to training people in this country to do the jobs of the 21st century. Why, for the life of me, I do not understand why did we stop doing vocational education in America, people that can work with their hands; people you can train to do this work while they’re still in high school so they can graduate ready to go work. But the best way to close this gap is to modernize higher education so Americans have the skills for those jobs.”

And Pataki as saying:  “What we have to do in America is honor blue collar work again. We have to honor the carpenter, the plumber, the electrician, who can actually build something and instead of just saying that a college degree delivers prestige, let’s celebrate those who do things with their hands and elevate their skills using training in high school and community colleges so that we can have a better quality workforce that we honor as they build America’s future.”

Santorum said that vocational education and community colleges should be a key part of training more Americans to fill jobs that they may not be qualified for right now, as Ed Week reports.

Both Kasich and Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush discussed moving education money and spending on education out of Washington and back to the states, as Forbes notes.

On the Democratic side of things, Hillary Clinton released four new television ads during the GOP debate, two of which focused on education. The ads aired in New Hampshire and Iowa and featured the personal stories of two individuals, a financial planning associate and a kindergarten teacher. They focused on student loans and incomes, urging viewers to join the fight to make college affordable and for higher incomes.

Senator Bernie Sanders spoke to students at George Mason University in Virginia and across the country via livestream, on free public college tuition, urging students to express their support. He also discussed the amount of money the nation spends on jails as compared to education, as Politico’s Morning Education reports. “It costs a hell of a lot more money to put someone in jail than to send them to the University of Virginia,” he said.

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